5 Best matches in this World Test Championship period

There have been numerous highlights during 2017 World Test Championship, and we look at five of the most memorable matches.

New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka, 2023, Christchurch

The stakes were high, with Sri Lanka still vying for a spot in the World Test Championship final, while pacesetters Australia and India watched from a continent away, curious to check to see whether there was a shift in the equation that was at the top of the standings.

Throughout the first four days, not much separated the two evenly matched sides, and all outcomes were still possible as clouds collected over Hagley Oval.

Rain washed out the whole first session, and when drizzle continued to fall long into the second session, the draw appeared to be the most likely outcome.

However, the rain stopped as New Zealand began quickly in pursuit of 257 runs from 52 overs, while Sri Lanka chased the nine wickets required to keep their World Test Championship final hopes alive.

It all came down to the final over of the day, which took place as the light began to fade, with New Zealand needing to win by eight runs and Sri Lanka still having to win by three wickets.

Matt Henry was run out on the third ball of the over, which gave the away team a glimmer of hope; however, New Zealand squeaked out a bye off the penultimate delivery, and the hero of the match, Kane Williamson, barely made his ground, which enabled the home team to win by the slimmest of margins.

Rawalpindi, 2022 – Pakistan vs. England

The first four days of this historic encounter produced a boatload of runs – it was the third highest scoring Test match in history – but the final day drama assured that this clash will be remembered for many years to come.

It was England’s first Test match back in Pakistan in 17 years, and the match appeared to be heading for a draw until visiting captain Ben Stokes made a brave declaration late on the fourth day.

Pakistan were given four sessions to chase down 343 on what appeared to be a fine batting pitch, but England had other plans as evergreen veteran James Anderson and untiring quick Ollie Robinson staged a stunning victory.

In Pakistan’s second innings, the pair each took four wickets, but it was spinner Jack Leach who claimed the final scalp as the hosts were bowled for 268 in failing light with just minutes remaining.

Galle, Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan, 2022

Chasing anything more than 100 on a deteriorating pitch at Galle is a difficult chore, especially when the hosts have up to four strong spinners in their starting Lineup.

In the first Test at Galle, Pakistan were set a massive total of 344 after strong centuries from Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal for the hosts.

However, by the time play was stopped on day four, Pakistan had reached 222/3 thanks to a century from Abdullah Shafique. This put them in a strong position from which they could dictate terms.

A rain delay with Pakistan still 11 runs short of the mark added to the suspense, but they returned to quickly knock off the runs and secure a memorable victory.

England vs. India, 2022, Birmingham

The Bazball sensation had strolled to a series whitewash against New Zealand at home, but there were still some sceptics when India visited England to complete the postponed fifth and final Test of their 2021 series.

The hosts appeared to be in trouble after surrendering a 132-run lead in the first innings thanks to centuries from Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja, but superb bowling from Ben Stokes and inexperienced pacer Matthew Potts saw India collapse late in their second innings, leaving the hosts with a target of 378.

Under normal circumstances, that target would appear beyond of reach, but this brash new England side had little trouble scoring the runs for the loss of only three wickets.

England’s pursuit was sparked by a century opening stand, but they lost three wickets in the space of two runs to surrender the early lead.

But, England were on top of their game after that, with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow accumulating hundreds and taking England past the objective with an unbroken stand.

Kanpur, India vs. New Zealand, 2021

After the Lord’s finale earlier in the year, this was the first encounter between the finalists of the inaugural World Test Championship cycle, and it proved to be a cliff-hanger as both teams strove for an advantage in the new WTC season.

After the first innings, Shreyas Iyer’s century was offset by a powerful 151-run opening stand between Will Young and Tom Latham.

But, India skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s courageous declaration in the second innings set New Zealand a manageable goal of 284 to win in just over one day.

The visitors’ day didn’t start well when Ravichandran Ashwin trapped Young LBW late on the fourth day, and the India spinners were out for more on the fifth day as the surface continued to play tricks.

Nevertheless, New Zealand demonstrated their normal grit and tenacity in a nail-biting last session on day five, when Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel held on for a draw, leaving the hosts furious.

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